Electoral bonds case: Live updates from Supreme Court | Day 1

The Supreme Court has commenced hearing final arguments on a batch of petitions challenging the validity of the electoral bonds scheme for funding political parties.

October 31, 2023 12:12 pm | Updated February 23, 2024 08:55 pm IST

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench has started hearing the final arguments in the electoral bonds case after a gap of more than two years, as the last effective hearing took place in March 2021. File

The Supreme Court’s five-judge Constitution Bench has started hearing the final arguments in the electoral bonds case after a gap of more than two years, as the last effective hearing took place in March 2021. File | Photo Credit: SHIV KUMAR PUSHPAKAR

A five-judge Constitution Bench headed by Chief Justice of India (CJI) D.Y. Chandrachud on Tuesday started hearing a slew of petitions challenging the electoral bonds scheme including those filed by Congress leader Jaya Thakur, the Communist Party of India (Marxist) and NGO Association for Democratic Reforms (ADR).

The scheme, which was notified on January 2, 2018, introduced money instruments through which companies and individuals in India can donate to political parties anonymously. The pleas contend that this opens the “floodgates” to unlimited political donations and anonymous funding of political parties by Indian and foreign companies, thereby legitimising electoral corruption on a huge scale.

Electoral Bonds Case LIVE

On Tuesday, advocate Prashant Bhushan appearing on behalf of ADR submitted that there is substantial evidence to believe that money is being given through electoral bonds as kickbacks in lieu of favourable government policies. He pointed out that whether at the Centre or in states, it is the ruling parties that receive the maximum share of the funds.

Mr. Bhushan highlighted that this “disturbs and destroys democracy” in the country as it does not allow a level playing field for political parties.

Earlier, the petitioners apprised the court that they would focus primarily on two issues concerning the scheme – the legalisation of anonymous donations to political parties and the violation of citizens’ right to information about the funding of political parties. The top court has said that it would not wade into the legal question concerning the passage of the scheme as a ‘Money Bill’ since the issue is already pending adjudication before a seven-judge Constitution Bench.

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